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I just got a Nice Answer badge on What verb should I use when someone “turns into” a zombie?. Thanks to our tireless techies, clicking on the notification link autoscrolled down to my answer. I couldn't avoid noticing a fairly short scrollbar thumb, suggesting either someone had posted a very long answer, or there were a lot of answers for what seemed to me a relatively trivial question.

It turned out to be the latter, and to my mind several of them were somewhat pointless "Me too!" answers. I knew my privilege level gave me either a vote or unilateral power to protect questions, but I hadn't realised until now that protected questions must be at least a day old.

I can't find anything in that question up there on "meta meta" (the last link above) about the one day rule, nor anywhere else on SO. I'm tempted to think it has some rationale that doesn't apply to ELU, where any competent native speaker could reel off an almost endless list of alternatives for mutate, turn, transform, convert, evolve, devolve, grow, mature, adapt, become [a zombie].

Obviously no-one ever actually does post the "definitive list", so new users who haven't necessarily grasped the ideals of the site are tempted to dive in with "yet-another-possibility-I-just-thought-of". And I think the fact that new users can answer but not comment doesn't always help here.

I'm not sure if this is a
feature request: Can ELU dispense with the 1-day limit, please?
or a
discussion: Why would any SO site want a 1-day limit?
so I'll tag both (Yeah, yeah - I know the second should really be on SO meta - Gimmie a break!)

  • [An off-topic question – sorry] Is it usually gimmie instead of gimme in the UK? Ngrams for Gimmie,Gimme,gimmie,gimme suggests gimmie is uncommon compared to gimme. – James Waldby - jwpat7 Nov 15 '13 at 19:01
  • @jwpat7: I'm quite comfortable with both spellings, but you're right gimmie is far less common overall. And I've no reason to suppose it's any more common in the UK than the US. – FumbleFingers Nov 15 '13 at 19:29
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Because usually, it takes at least a day for a post to go viral and start attracting bad "me too" or duplicate answers from new users.

The day limit is to prevent the tool from being used prematurely, thus preventing the possibility of good answers from new users.

Mod can bypass this limit, so in the rare case that you have a flash flood of bad answers, just custom flag asking for a question protection.

  • 2
    I deny your usually. I am addicted to the "Hot Questions" drop down. It's rare to see a question there more than 2 days old - my quick survey of just now showed 9/10 hot questions were less than 24 hours old. EL&U questions that make it up there are frequently of the single-word-request tag (which incidentally is the 3rd most frequently used tag on the site, right behind word-choice and meaning, which are frequently all used together). The nature of such questions invites thesaurus-entry answers w/ little else added. – Patrick M Nov 14 '13 at 14:41
  • Oh, the rest of your points are spot on, of course. Good workarounds. – Patrick M Nov 14 '13 at 14:44
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    @PatrickM Usually the folks that check the multicollider know not to write crap answers. The answers start getting attracted when it gets famous outside of SE (or sometimes if it reaches the top of the collider). Usually. At least, that's what my experience is. – Manishearth Nov 14 '13 at 14:53
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Stack Exchange does not want to prevent a question from becoming popular and engaging people. Answering a question tends to engage visitors, even if it's to post a redundant or content-free answer.

Moderators can protect a question at any time, but we are encouraged not to do this. A question is automatically protected if three answers from new users are deleted, and we are encouraged to wait for this to happen, even if experience has taught us that certain questions are likely to suffer from a rash of poor answers in the next few hours. The idea is to wait for initial damage to happen, then use protection to prevent further damage.

(As you can probably tell, I tend to agree with you. I think it's best to protect questions as soon as it becomes clear that they're attracting a bad sort.)

  • Well, obviously I know ELU better than any other SO sites. But I can't help thinking we might be something of a special case. Particularly when it comes to "single-word requests", since so many people are "qualified" to answer purely on the grounds that they know English. – FumbleFingers Nov 14 '13 at 22:55
  • @FumbleFingers Crappy answers by newcomers who think they're qualified happen everywhere. I'm not very familiar with ELU, but I don't think the phenomenon is qualitatively worse here. – Gilles Nov 14 '13 at 23:11
  • I must bow to your superior knowledge of the "pan-SO" situation. (Besides which, if I ever get around to ditching MS-Windows on my basic "house-PC" for Internet access/Media playback, I might need to be on your right side! :) Seriously, perhaps we "tend to agree" because we subscribe to concepts like by their works ye shall know them (and handsome is as handsome does). Whatever - I think I've "struck a chord" here. – FumbleFingers Nov 15 '13 at 2:10

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